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Governor Cuomo last week announced the completion of a construction project in Orange County, four years after the state Department of Transportation (DOT) deliberately added at least $4 million to the cost by improperly steering jobs to Hudson Valley unions—and cost taxpayers up to $22 million for the way it did it. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo has a chance to make good on a promise to New York taxpayers by signing two bills that would help make information more accessible for public consumption. Read More

As part of his ongoing push for a statewide $15 minimum wage, Governor Andrew Cuomo repeatedly has denounced what he calls “the mother of all corporate loopholes.” In Buffalo this week, he amped up his rhetoric, reportedly charging that “business is stealing from taxpayers of this state.” Cuomo wasn’t referring to any of the notable business tax giveaways he has personally promoted, such as the $420 million a year the state doles out to wealthy film and TV producers, or the state's $750 million speculative investment in billionaire Elon Musk’s solar panel factory in Buffalo, or the 100 percent tax exemptions that will flow to the handpicked corporate occupants of START-UP NY zones. Read More

One of New York State's highly touted high-tech "investments" just shorted out. General Electric announced today it is pulling the plug on its Durathon battery project, which is manufactured by a Schenectady-based subsidiary, GEMx Technologies. The project, which for a time employed more than 350 people, was awarded $12.5 million in "JOBS Now" capital funding from the state Empire State Development Corp. in 2013. Read More

Starting next year, New York's state government plans to (finally) stop deferring a portion of its annual required pension payments—but over the next 10 years, it will still have to repay $3.3 billion it owes on pension fund borrowings since fiscal 2011. Read More

For a fifth consecutive year, Governor Andrew Cuomo is late in releasing the required Mid-Year Update to the state Financial Plan. The governor, who likes to boast of getting budgets adopted before the March 31 end of the fiscal year (which is not required by law), maintained his perfect record of never once meeting the Oct. 30 statutory deadline for filing the latest quarterly financial report, which is supposed to summarize the state's actual financial experience during the first six months of the year and to update projections for the next four years. Read More

The New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS) earned only 5.2 percent on its investments—well short of its assumed rate of 8 percent—during the fiscal year ending last June 30. But taxpayer contributions to NYSTRS, already due to drop by more than four full percentage points of covered payroll in school year 2015-16, nonetheless are projected by the system actuary to decrease by a little bit more (up to 1.76 percentage points) in 2016-17. Read More

Year-over-year private-sector job growth has picked up in Buffalo and Rochester but is still sinking in the Southern Tier and weakening in the Hudson Valley, according to the latest statistics from the state Labor Department. Read More

Some Long Island town officials are crying the blues over the budgetary squeeze supposedly created by the state's property tax cap, according to Newsday. But the thrust of their complaints—that the tax cap is somehow blocking towns from funding urgent needs and projects—just won't hold water. Due to low inflation, the basic tax cap for local fiscal years beginning Jan. 1, 2016, will be 0.73 percent, lowest since the cap's 2011 enactment. Read More

A Syracuse Common Council member says he'll introduce a city ordinance forcing city government contractors to hire some of their workers from city neighborhoods. Councilor Khalid Bey's hiring preference proposal reflects an understandable desperation to jump-start employment growth in a city with 33.2 percent poverty rate. It's also a really bad idea. Read More